My Martial Art
Last time, I introduced my MS diagnosis but where does the “Grappling with” come from?
I’ve been practising martial arts since 2007. At the time, I jokingly described it as an alternative mid-life crisis to getting a motorbike but over the last 12 years, it has turned into a wonderful, life enriching experience. The martial art is called Shoto Budo and, whilst it has roots in Shoto Kai karate, over time has grown to incorporate elements of many different martial arts.
It still retains traditional elements of karate including kata, belt grades and training in a gi but one of my favourite elements of practice is grappling and groundwork, hence the name of this blog.
My martial arts practise has been a useful personal barometer for my progress since diagnosis. During my initial stay in hospital, I found myself trying to do kata to test my balance. Initially this was hard – I could manage the first two moves of the first kata but couldn’t maintain my balance when trying to turn.
Over the next few weeks, I slowly added more and more moves until making it through the whole kata which felt like a triumph. Since then I’ve continued working on my balance in this way and, with the exception of jumping moves, seem to be back to normal.
I took tentative steps back to practice in October 2018 and have gradually been able to build things back up to near pre-July 2018 levels.
I graded for my first dan black belt in 2016 and had started preparation for my second dan when MS struck. I was devastated, seeing the possibilities of grading again disappearing, possibly forever. A couple of years down the line and it seems a little more attainable, assuming the world can get back to normal after coronavirus. There will be a lot of sweat, but hopefully no blood or tears before I get to that goal!
The first three entries to the blog have very much been scene setting and hopefully gives you the starting point in my journey. Now let’s see where go from here.
You can read more about my club and our martial art at bearsdenmartialarts.org.